“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14
When is the last time you ran? I mean really ran. The type of running you do when you’re competing with someone, or because you’re late or because someone really needs you. When have you run like that?
A few years ago I did some running in 5K races. People tell me I’m built like a runner. So I trained and ran and ran. A friend of mine who use to run cross country coached me for a while. I got to compete a few times. But ultimately my knee didn’t agree with the people who thought I was built like a runner. Perhaps I’ll try it again sometime. But my laziness is getting the better or me.
When Paul says, “I press on” he is speaking figuratively of running, and running hard. Paul’s spiritual life was a vigorous run. He writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Paul did not run for exercise or experience or to keep in shape like I did. He ran because Jesus is worth running, a long, pressing and painful, knee-breaking run that lasts your entire life.
The author of Hebrews also writes about this same race and the way we should run:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
You, reader, have read at least parts of the Bible. Parts that describe great men and women of faith. These were each runners. They ran by faith in Jesus Christ. They are great examples. And how did they run? They obeyed the command to put everything else in our lives away, every sin because sin clings so closely, weighing us down. Then they obeyed the command to run. They fixed their eyes on Jesus, who ensures their eternal life with Him and even their on-going improvement in the faith. And, finally, with their eyes so fixed, they run, shedding sin from their lives, enduring everything in the knowledge that Jesus endured much more when doing His work for them.
So, when is the last time you ran? I mean really ran? Spiritually ran? Do you read your Bible every day, completing it at least once-a-year? Do you pray daily for God’s glory, your family, church members and friends? Do you memorize verses from the Bible? How about whole books? Do you pray through Scripture? Do you fast? When is the last time you waged war on a prominent sin in your life through Bible study, prayer and discipleship? Evangelism?
Perhaps it’s time to RUN again! Jesus is worth it.